Gavroglou says court ruling opens way for removal of ‘religion’ from ministry title

Gavroglou says court ruling opens way for removal of ‘religion’ from ministry title

Former education minister Costas Gavroglou hailed a ruling by the Council of State which approved a change in the mission statement of the ministry as an “important day” for promoting the distinct roles of State and Church.

Greece's highest administrative court ruled that the Education and Religion Ministry does not violate the constitution by no longer including in its responsibilities "developing a student's religious conscience.”

The phrase had been removed by presidential decree by Gavroglou in 2018, during the previous SYRIZA administration.

“This ruling creates the conditions for the removal of the title ‘Religion' from the full title of the Ministry of Education, as is the case in all the corresponding ministries in European countries,” Gavroglou said in a statement.

“But most of all, it provides the opportunity to discuss calmly the further reinforcement of the distinct roles of the State and the Church,” he added.

In justifying its decision, the court said that, just as career training or citizenship training is not mentioned explicitly does not mean that the ministry violates the constitution or no longer cares for them.

The appeal against the change was lodged by the Church of Greece, the Metropolis of Piraeus and Piraeus’ metropolitan bishop Seraphim, as well as religious groups.

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